Hamilton's slippy start to F1 season! Brit skids into the gravel

Lewis Hamilton’s slippy start to the F1 season! Brit skids into the gravel and causes a red flag in new W12 car as Mercedes’ problems continue during 2021 pre-season testing in Bahrain

  • Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ return to the F1 season has not started smoothly 
  • The Brit spun off and caused a red flag during pre-season testing in Bahrain 
  • Hamilton is gunning for his eighth F1 title to beat Michael Schumacher’s record 

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ return to the 2021 F1 season has not started smoothly as the Brit caused a red flag during pre-season testing.

Hamilton signed a new one-year deal with the world champions after he cruised his way to a seventh F1 title last season to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven driver’s championships.

And the 36-year-old is fancied to break the German’s record this season and lead the Silver Arrows to their tenth Constructors’ championships, but it hasn’t got off to a good start.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ return to the 2021 F1 season has not started smoothly

The new-look Merc spun onto the gravel and caused a red flag before being lifted out

The Brit entered the race control car following the incident after a frustrating day of testing

During Day Two of the pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, Hamilton caused a red flag after his Mercedes lost control and spun into the gravel.

The Brit managed to exit his vehicle without injury and was taken back to the paddocks by the race control car.

Stewards secured the vehicle before they airlifted the Mercedes back to the garage and allowed the testing session to continue. After roughly an hour out of action, the Silver Arrows managed to get Hamilton back out on the track. 

Hamilton and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas are still getting used to the Mercedes’ new W12 car, which was revealed to the world earlier this month.

Lewis Hamilton, pictured for the W12 launch, will hope to secure a record eighth F1 world title

‘The launch day of a new car is always a really exciting one,’ said Hamilton ahead of his 15th season.

‘It’s great to reveal to the world the result of everyone’s hard work at the factories and to see some of my team-mates in person, which has been so rare during the past year.

‘I’ve been in touch with the engineers through the winter, keeping track of their preparations as I prepare myself for the season ahead. The excitement has been building and building, so now I just can’t wait to get out on track in the W12.’

The sport’s all-conquering team have carried over their predominantly black livery from last season which was encouraged by Hamilton’s promotion of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement to raise awareness in the fight against racism.

Mercedes are targeting an eighth consecutive double world championship this season

The touch of silver to the rear is the real notable change to the livery from the 2020 car (above)

Although the car retains a similar look from last season’s W11, it has been updated with a flick of silver to the rear of the engine cover near the rear wing to represent the team’s traditional colours.

While the car itself features little change from its W11 predecessor, it does have a ‘trimmed floor’ and ‘aerodynamic tweaks’ that technical director James Alisson admitted he was not prepared to show at the launch to keep rivals such as Red Bull and Ferrari on their toes ahead of pre-season testing. 

Alisson also claimed that changes to the side pod of the car may help improve the overall performance of the power unit for this season. 

The testing in Bahrain has also seen the return of former champion Fernando Alonso in the newly-branded Alpine car and has given Formula One fans a first-sighting of Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin following his departure from Ferarri.

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